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WTF: How Can the “WTF” World Tour Finals Be Improved?

The singles competition at the World Tour Finals has not quite gone according to plan. As of Wednesday, there have been zero three set matches, little drama and an abundance of blowouts. Compared to the doubles competition, the singles event has been horrible.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic appear to be the only two players who have carried over their form from the rest of the season to London.

Let’s not forget: These are the Top 8 players of 2014. They got here on the merit of their performances throughout the season, yet almost all of them have failed to translate that success at the World Tour Finals.

The World Tour Finals usually ends up being a very successful and entertaining event. Though the doubles matches have been tenser affairs, the lackluster singles matches have all but kneecapped this year’s edition.

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some ways the World Tour Finals could be improved and made more interesting as an event as a whole.

  1. Surface Variation

The World Tour Finals are now played on indoor hard courts every single year. Players like Djokovic and Federer, who thrive on this surface, are provided with a substantial advantage, where the David Ferrer’s and Rafael Nadal’s of the world would have the event played on clay in an ideal world.

While it would probably be incompatible with the idea of the ATP wanting to have a different venue for the event every couple of years, it would be nice to see the World Tour Finals alternate venues each year to mix in a variety of surfaces.

  1. Best of Five Set Final

It used to be the case that the final of the season ending championships was a best of five sets affair. This all changed in 2008 when the final was shortened to mirror the earlier rounds of the event.

It would be a bit of extreme to make the entire event best out of five sets – considering the tournament is only one week and the quality of competition could create situations where players are burnt out after only one or two matches.

The last non-Davis Cup singles match of the year is played at the World Tour Finals and it only seems fitting to end the season with a best of five sets match.

  1. Put Doubles Matches on Second

For most fans, doubles matches are seen as the “warmup” or “appetizer” for the singles match on tap during the World Tour Finals sessions. In almost nearly every session thus far, the doubles match has been better than the following singles match, leaving fans with a heavy sense of anticlimax.

Nothing is ever guaranteed in terms which match will be better or worse, but mixing up the order seems fair and would partially solve the problem of fans being disappointed at the end of sessions this year and leaving with a bad taste in their mouths.

What do you think? Leave your comments and thoughts below.

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About Nick Nemeroff (66 Articles)
21-year-old NYU student. Passionate about playing tennis, coaching tennis, and writing about tennis. Feel free to contact me at any time!

4 Comments on WTF: How Can the “WTF” World Tour Finals Be Improved?

  1. Great suggestions!

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  2. The danger of putting doubles on second, of course, is that you might just televise the emptying of an arena if some lesser known combos are playing (though the doubles this week have been excellent). Best of 5 is too old schools these days. Perhaps if the 5th set is replaced by a super-tie breaker. As for format, perhaps a double-elimination format would be better (you drop into a lower bracket after one loss, but you still have a shot to get back into it).

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  3. think the men’s and women’s year-end events should be brought together.

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  4. Definitely agree with varying the surfaces–even if it means throwing some clay down on that arena floor for a change or even grass!

    How about alternates for EVERY round as well. so david ferrer and feliciano lopez were the alternates for the RR. but there should be alternates for the SFs and F as well. if someone withdraws from the SF, put in the next guy (3rd place in their half of the draw). If someone withdraws from the Finals, put in the losing SF with the highest amount of sets won throughout the tournament, and then games ratio throughout the tournament, etc.

    And Amen for a Saturday or even Friday start!

    As for doubles–leave them as the starters. those matches need to be highlighted. i LOVE them! So intense and nail biting. If they are on last, i feel most folks will tune out. 😦

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